A friend of ours farms almost 1,000 acres near us. One of his part time tractor hands, a high school boy named Justin, works hard and already has his plans set on majoring in agriculture science in college.
Justin was plowing a remote field about five miles from us last week. He stopped the tractor and climbed down to make an adjustment. While he worked over a disc on the plow, three men emerged from the brush. Two had pistols. They ordered Justin to his knees, hands behind his head. One of the men talked to the other two in Spanish about what they'd do "with the body". He ordered Justin to bow his head and Justin felt the tip of the pistol at the back of his head.
At that moment, the chop- chop sound of a helicopter flying overhead sent the men scurrying back into the brush, allowing Justin to run an adrenaline laced race to the road and escape in his truck.
This is one of several more frequently occurring episodes.
My parents, who live a pasture away from us, have a lovely sun-room at the back of their house, with floor to ceiling windows and a view of their pool. They enjoy taking their morning coffee in this room. One morning before sunrise, my dad left early for an appointment. My mom made several trips through the sun room, tidying things as she went. She heard a noise in the semi darkness outside, and thinking one of their animals might be getting into something, she opened the sun room door and stepped out. There, a set of WET human footprints on the sidewalk leading from the pool to the sun room door stood as stark evidence that someone had indeed been there very shortly before, probably watching her through the uncovered windows.
There are other stories, too numerous to tell. Not long ago, we always helped people who came through, needing food, sometimes with a pair of shoes or a jacket to keep warm. These were people looking for work, even family groups with small children moving at night through the brush. I have strong feelings about doing things legally, but my heart will never allow me to turn away someone who asks for food or a warm blanket for their child.
These new travelers through the brush are different. They are cartel related. At best they cut fences and kill cattle. At worst, they leave a grisly wake, especially on the Mexican side of the border, of decapitated bodies, warnings carved into flesh, and worse. Many of these cartel related people literally worship a demon god with rituals so evil I cannot speak of them here. The news media in the U.S. does not report the severity or frequency of what is happening.
It is not all areas in this part of Texas that are having these problems. The beaches, towns, and other tourist areas are safer than the gold at Fort Knox. These folks who deal violence like cards from a deck prefer keeping to uninhabited, remote areas and away from towns and cities. Like cockroaches, they are drawn to dark, unlit areas. They walk a distance through brush and pastures to avoid Border Patrol checkpoints and patrols until they meet their pick-up people at predetermined points on the highway two miles from our house.
Our friends who are Border Patrolmen tell us about things that go on that would unsettle many who feel secure in our border's safety. It's not just Mexican drug cartel laborers who are moving through, but operatives from other countries hostile to the U.S. There are very sophisticated measures now in place to detect people going through who shouldn't be, but they are targeted mainly at checkpoints on the highway and at railroad freight cars.
This has altered my life. At my husband's insistence, I am having to reconsider the regular runs I take through our remote back pastures, as my husband has found the remains of their small campfires there. After the incident with Justin, the area farmers and ranchers have now armed themselves, even when plowing and planting.
We have shored up security at our house, as have my parents. I do not like guns, but I know where my husband's are, where the ammo is, and how to use them. Our daughters do, too.
I do not know what the answer is that will end this.
More than being scared, I am sad. I miss the days when we could be an outstretched hand of help instead of an outstretched hand holding a gun in self defense.
I apologize in advance for this post. I usually try post things that will be uplifting and/or positive, and I know this is neither. It is something, though, that weighs heavily on my heart.